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Book of Common Prayer, the


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


The Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, was and technically still is the official liturgy of the Church of England, and is arguably one of the most important texts in English history. It is primarily the work of archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, assisted by a range of scholars, bishops, and theologians, and its purpose was to provide nationally standardized forms of worship, in English, and with generally (if sometimes ambiguously) Protestant commitments. The contents of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer are as follows: 1.  A preface, written by Cranmer, substantially a translation of the introduction to Cardinal Francesco de Quinones's 1535 Breviary 2.  Table and Kalendar for determining daily scriptural readings 3.  Liturgical forms for Mattins and Evensong (morning and evening prayer) 4.  Proper readings for each Sunday and feast day throughout the year 5.  Holy Communion 6.  The Litany 7.  Baptism 8.  Confirmation 9.  Matrimony 10.  Visitation of the Sick 11.  Burial 12.  Purification of Women 13.  Ash Wednesday 14.  An original concluding essay titled ‘Of Ceremonies, why some be abolished and some retained’, in which Cranmer explains the logic of liturgical reform embodied in the Prayer Book 15.  Concluding rubrics. Subsequent editions (1552, 1559, 1604, 1662) revised, rearranged, and supplemented these, but this structure formed the basic skeleton for all of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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